tv NBC Nightly News NBC May 9, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
on the broadcast tonight, on the record. president obama takes a stand. he supports same-sex marriage, but with the country evenly divided, what will it mean? it is new relief for people who suffer from a painful form of arthritis? tonight, the new drug that could work when others don't. elizabeth edwards, new testimonyoday about inwoman not in the courtroom and the woman who split up the edwards' marriage. contact sports. the concussion crisis now among girls. just getting attention in a sport that's become a suburban american weekend tradition. and vidal sassoon. remembering the man who put beauty within reach for millions. "nightly news" begins now.
good evening. president barack obama today became the first american president to say he approves of same-sex marriage. he says his position has evolved. he now personally supports it, but he adds it's now up to the states to decide. many of the states have already spoken and lot more spates outlaw same-sex marriage than those that allow it. publican acceptance has risen sharply, but still, it's an issue where the country is now evenly split, and now it takes place alongside jobs and economy, among issues that will be fought over all the way to november. we begin with chuck todd. good evening. >> good evening, brian. according to aids, president obama had expressed to him he had changed his views on gay marriage a couple months ago and was looking for a way to go public with the changed view some time before this
september's democratic convention. aids admit this was not the week they planned on going public. because of vice president's comments on "meet the press" it expedited things. >> i think same-sex couples should be able to get married. >> president obama who said 18 months ago his views on gay marriage were evaevling told ab, there news today that evolution became complete after multiple conversations with his wife and two daughters. >> malia and sasha have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. there have been times when michelle and i have been sitting around the dinner table and talking about their friends and their parents, and malia and sasha, it wouldn't dawn on them that somehow their friends' parents would be treated differently. it doesn't make sense to them. and frankly, that's the kind of thing that prompts a change of perspective. i had hesitated on gay marriage in part because i thought civil
unions would be sufficient, and i was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people, you know, the word marriage was something that evokes very professional traditions, religious beliefs and so forth. >> the president still believes marriage is an issue for states to decide and aids said there is not any federal action in the works. this announcement comes a day after a major presidential batt battleground state, north carolina, overwhelmingly voted to amend the state's constitution banning gay marriage and civil unions. the president sped up the time able after vice president biden said this on "meet the press" sunday. >> i am absolutely comfortable with the facthat men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all of the civil liberties. over the last eight years the president has struggled publicly with the issue.
in 2004, he was against it. >> we have a set of traditions in place that i think needs to be preserved, but i also think that we have to make sure that gays and lesbians have the same set of basic rights that are in place. >> in his 2006 book "audacity of hope" then senator obama openly wondered if he was going to be seen as behind the times. he wrote, in years hence, i may be seen as someone who was on the wrong side of history. it's unclear how the issue will play in the presidential race. gay rights activists were ecstatic. >> i have gotten text messages from people all over the country, from members of hrc, from people i haven't heard from in a long time, from my husband, so it's been inspiring, and it's been very emotional. >> and leading social conservatives believe it will help mitt romney. >> his statement that he supported same sex marriage goes a long way in addressing the intensity issue that milt romney was facing with social
conservatives. >> romney who supports a federal ban in the constitution said this today. >> my view is that marriage itself is a relationship between a man and a woman, and that's my own preference. i know other people have differing views. this is a tender and sensitive topic. >> you know, this is not the first time that mr. obama has come out for gay marriage when he was a candidate for the state senate in 1996, he filled out a questionnaire saying he waw in favor of same-sex marriage, but when he ran for president in 2004, he had switched his position. >> chuck todd starting us off. chuck, thanks. >> the president's remarks have triggered a lot of action and response on the air, on the web. we have more on that reaction and the evolution of this issue tonight from nbc's anne thompson. >> to ring the closing bell at the new york stock exchange on any day is special, but to do so on this day, also international family equality day, was
historic for rick. >> he's engaged to his partner of 11 years. the president's personal support of gay marriage sends an important message. >> it's just we're a family just like every other family. >> the shift in american attitudes happened quickly. just eight years ago, nearly two thirds of americans opposed same-sex marriage. today, almost half the country supports it. the opponents dwindling to 40%. >> i think it's a bad thing for the leader of the country to say, a bad thing to support, and it goes against god's commands. >> today, gay relationships are part of the cultural main stream. jp penny's catalog includes lesbian moms. >> you come into my house and insult me. >> on tv, "modern family," america's favorite comedy, features gay characters. following in the footsteps of "will and grace" and ellen's historic coming out. 15 years ago. >> i'm gay. >> we have more in common than
we do that separates us. i think people are realizing that, and it's really making an impact on the country and it's fueling the discussion around marriage. >> yet, what's happening in some of america's homes is not being reflected in the nation's state houses. 39 states define marriage as between one man and one woman. 30 of them by constitutional amendment. >> i think marriage is a man and a woman, and it needs to remain that way. >> both supporters and critics of same-sex marriage will be watching for reaction to the president's remarks today. personally supporting a modern definition of family, determined not by gender but by commitment. anne thompson, nbc news, new york. richard lugar, one of the longest serving senators in this country was trounced in the indiana republican primary by tea party backed opponent richard murdoch. after conceding defeat, the old school moderate unleased a 1400 word document examining this
hyperpartisan times. he blamed outside groups that spent millions on ads against them saying their, quote, prime mission is to clenls the republican party of those who stray from orthodoxy as they see it. luger is a powerful voice in foreign policy, was attacked for working the compromise with the white house. his defeat comes close to ending the era of centrist republicans in the senate. at the john edwards trial today, prosecutors are getting ready to wrap up their case. that could begin as early as tomorrow. again today, the most dramatic testimony involved a woman who cannot be present, john edwards' late wife, elizabeth edwards. lisa myers has our report from greensboroeri greensboroeri greensboroering, north carolina. >> it was another emotional day. as jennifer palmieri, press secretary to john edwards, and close friend of elizabeth, recounted how elizabeth angrily confronted a donor she learned was helping rielle hunter. it happened in this iowa hotel,
in october 2007, ten months after elizabeth first discovered the affair between hunter and her husband. she said elizabeth was very upset when she learned donor fred baron and his wife were in contact with rielle hunter. she had even taken hunter to los angeles on a shopping trip. palmieri said it was a very emotional scene. elizabeth worried that spending time and money on hunter makes john look even more guilty. lisa was saying, you got to hold your friends close and your enemies even closer. that rielle was a loose cannon who might go to the press. >> palmieri testified john edwards was there but said very little. >> it's important, it shows that as early as october 2007, john edwards knew that fred baron was taking steps to keep his affair quiet. >> prosecutors charge that money baron used to hide the affair amounted to illegal campaign contributions which edwards denies.
>> palmieri choked up when she talked about elizabeth's final days. she said after the edwards' separated, she expressed concern when she died there would not be a man around who loved her. i said, i will be there. he will be there. and she says john was there tending to elizabeth when she died. she testified that edwards was at times delusional about his political prospects. she said even after he was caught by photographers visiting hunter and the baby, he expressed hope at being attorney general. >> there's health news, new hope for patients who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. it's not nearly as common as authio arthritis, but the symptoms are usually debilitating and now a new drug may be able to help those who tried other treatments without finding any relief. our report from our chief science correspondent robert bazell. >> michael colin, a former trader on the chicago
commodities exchange, is in constant pain from rheumatoid arthritis, an atutoimmune diseae that affects millions of americans. every treatment he has tried has failed. >> i'm looking and hoping for that, maybe there's a miracle out there that takes these symptoms away. >> it may not be a miracle, but for first time in a decade, an fda advisory committee approved new drug for rheumatoid arthlitis. the fda is expected to give final approval in months. it affects three times as many women as men. >> at the beginning, getting used to the medication was hard. it has some side effects. >> in the past, many patients were left severely disabled. then biological drugs including embril and humira came on the market, allowing many but not all patients to live normal lives. 30% to 40% of patients don't respond to the drugs currently
available. the proposed new drug aims at a completely new target. the fda panel decided the dangers of the new drug, including an increased risk of lymphoma and elevated cholesterol were outweighed by the benefits. >> it would be nice to have another option. >> colin and thousands like him are hoping the new drug will relieve their agony. robert bazell, nbc news, new york. still ahead as we continue along the way, a quiet epidemic, a concussion problem. involving girls who play soccer. >> and lat, a classic american success story. he came to the country with nothing, he works hard, and tonight, we get to show you what he accomplished. show you what he accomplished. sven's home security gets the most rewards of any small business credit card! how does this thing work? oh, i like it! [ garth ] sven's small business earns double miles on every purchase, every day! woo-hoo!!! so that's ten security gators, right?
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kids and their parents. this is about girl's soccer in this country because it turns out they're second only to football players in terms of reported concussions. nbc's kate snow has done some exhaustive reporting on this subject for tonight's "rock center." she found girls in suburban philadelphia with a remarkable story to tell. >> there's a steep price for going all out for this generation of girl warrior athletes. how many of you have had a concussion? how many of you have had more than one concussion? how many of you have played through a concussion? you had a concussion and kept going? one group of friends, more than a dozen concussions. >> people who think of concussions as only being present mostly in guys and mostly in the sport of football are just plain wrong. soccer is right at the top of the list for the girls. >> dr. bob cantu, a leading researcher, said girls are reporting nearly twice as many concussions as boys in the sports they both play.
>> girls as a group have far weaker necks. the same force delivered to a girl's head spins the head much more because of the weak neck than it does to the guys. >> of the six girls we met, three have had such bad brain injuries they had to give up the sport they love. >> i looked fine, like, if you looked at me right now, do i look like i'm sick? does it look like i have a headache? it may not look like it, but i really do. i have a headache 24/7. >> allison's first major concussion was more than three years ago. we interviewed allison in her bedroom, lit only by soft blue light, which reduces her nearly constant headaches. >> it's like a break, it's visible, but it's almost like i need a sign on my back saying my head is broken. i mean, you can say you understand, but it's like, you don't.
i'm sorry. you don't. >> provocative new research suggests some body types may be more at risk than others. >> we believe that individuals with very long, thin necks may be at greater risk. >> this is going to make a lot of parents look at their daughters. >> i would hope it would not only make parents look at their daughters but make every one of those parents insist their daughters are on a neck strengthening program if they're playing a collision sport. >> one of the other big lessons for parents, most of the girls said they played through their injuries. when they do that, they're risking serious long-term effects. every doctor we spoke with said if you have any suspicion that a player may have just had a concussion, take them out of the game. >> you're right. this is going to make a lot of parents look at their daughters. and that's a good thing. we hope you can join us to see kate's full reporting on the subject, especially if there's a girl soccer player in your family. that's tonight, "rock center" at 9:00, 8:00 central. kate, thanks.
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vidal sassoon has died. he became a household name from humble roots. he was a poor kid from the east end of london. started working at 14, opened his first salon there and branched out to new york where his product line hit the market in 1973. he was recently the subject of a documentary about his life and times. in which he talked about his inspiration. >> when i looked at the architecture, the structure of buildings that were going up worldwide, you saw a whole different look in shape. my sense was hair dressing definitely needed to be changing. >> he was a visionary. styled hair for seven decades. he pioneered the wash and wear
hairstyle for women as well as his geometric hair for the '60s and he was the one who famously cut mia farrow's hair for the film "rosemary's baby." he sold his name to procter & gamble years ago. the slogan remained the same, if you don't look good, we don't look good. vidal sassoon died at his beverly hills home today. he was 84. also tonight, nicholas katzenbach died. while his name was never on a ballot, he had a towering influence on our times. as the "new york times" put it today, he helped shape the political history of the 1960s. he was one of the best and brightest profiled in the famous book of the same name. he was attorney general under president johnson. he was bobby kennedy's deputy of the justice department before that. he helped to draft the voting rights act of 1965. and his shining moment came when he confronted governor george wallace on the steps of the university of alabama on the issue of allowing black students to attend.
>> i would ask you once again to responsibly step aside, and if you do not, i'm going to assure you that the orders of those courts will be enforced. >> he was born to a prominent family. he went to princeton and then dropped out to fight in world war ii. as a b-25 navigator, he was shot down, captured by the germans. spent two years as a p.o.w., came home, finished princeton, then yale law school, then was a rhodes scholar. at the justice department, he fought segregation in mississippi, fought constantly with j. edgar hoover at the fbi. he later went on to the state department and department of justice. nicholas katzenbach was 90 years old. when we come back, living the american dream. a good old fashioned success story. uccess story. for three hours a week, i'm a coach. but when i was diagnosed with prostate cancer... i needed a coach. our doctor was great, but with so many tough decisions
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former war-ravaged yugoslavia, heading to america with no money, no job, and no english speaking skills. >> i moved to escape from the political problems. >> he landed a job at columbia university, mopping floors. cleaning mirrors, and emptying the trash. that job turned into an education in the classics, and now an ivy league degree. >> the hardest for me was and still is element aary. >> but now, 52 year old was accepting into columbia school of general studies back in 2000 and took advantage of free courses for employees. he said juggling a full-time job and one or two courses a semester got exhausting at times. he typically took morning classes so he could work the night shift until 11:00 p.m., then he had to commute home. >> many times, i did not sleep at all.
especially when i had to write papers. >> but he says it was worth it. sunday, the custodian will receive a classics degree from the prestigious university, graduating with honors. >> he's an inspiration for the wider community. >> i would like that people when they look at me at this age, that i graduated, they do not feel ashamed to go to school. >> capping a 20-year journey of learning valuable lessons by teaching. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york. >> how about that? that's our broadcast on a wednesday night. thank you for being here with us. don't forget to join us tonight for "rock center" at 9:00, 8:00 central. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you back here tomorrow evening. good night. we hope to see you back here tomorrow evening. good night. ♪